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Son Preference and Access to Social Insurance: Evidence from China's Rural Pension Program

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  • Avraham Ebenstein
  • Steven Leung

Abstract

Many scholars argue that the persistence of son preference in China is driven by greater anticipated old-age support from sons than from daughters and the absence of formal financial mechanisms for families to save for retirement. The introduction of a voluntary old-age pension program in rural China in the 1990s presents the opportunity to examine (1) whether parents with sons are less likely to participate in pension plans and (2) whether providing access to pension plans affects parental sex-selection decisions. Consistent with the first hypothesis, we find that parents with sons are less likely to participate in the pension program and have less financial savings for retirement. Consistent with the second hypothesis, we find that an increase in county-level pension program availability is associated with a slower increase in the sex ratio at birth. Copyright (c) 2010 The Population Council, Inc..

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  • Avraham Ebenstein & Steven Leung, 2010. "Son Preference and Access to Social Insurance: Evidence from China's Rural Pension Program," Population and Development Review, The Population Council, Inc., vol. 36(1), pages 47-70.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:popdev:v:36:y:2010:i:1:p:47-70
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Monica Das Gupta & Jiang Zhenghua & Li Bohua & Xie Zhenming & Woojin Chung & Bae Hwa-Ok, 2003. "Why is Son preference so persistent in East and South Asia? a cross-country study of China, India and the Republic of Korea," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 40(2), pages 153-187.
    2. Dewen Wang, 2006. "China's Urban and Rural Old Age Security System: Challenges and Options," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 14(1), pages 102-116.
    3. Avraham Ebenstein, 2010. "The "Missing Girls" of China and the Unintended Consequences of the One Child Policy," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(1).
    4. Lisa Cameron & Deborah Cobb-Clark, 2001. "Old-Age Support in Indonesia: Labor Supply, Intergenerational Transfers and Living Arrangements," CEPR Discussion Papers 429, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    5. Nancy Qian, 2008. "Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Sex-Specific Earnings on Sex Imbalance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1251-1285.
    6. Cameron, Lisa A. & Cobb-Clark, Deborah A., 2001. "Old-Age Support in Developing Countries: Labor Supply, Intergenerational Transfers and Living Arrangements," IZA Discussion Papers 289, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    Cited by:

    1. Renuka Sane & Susan Thomas, 2015. "In Search of Inclusion: Informal Sector Participation in a Voluntary, Defined Contribution Pension System," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 51(10), pages 1409-1424, October.
    2. Mu, Ren & Du, Yang, 2012. "Pension Coverage for Parents and Educational Investment in Children: Evidence from Urban China," IZA Discussion Papers 6797, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Quanbao Jiang & Shuzhuo Li & Marcus Feldman, 2011. "Demographic Consequences of Gender Discrimination in China: Simulation Analysis of Policy Options," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 30(4), pages 619-638, August.
    4. Yi Zeng & Melanie D. Sereny Brasher & Danan Gu & James W. Vaupel, 2015. "Older parents benefit more in health outcome from daughters’ than sons’ care in China," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2015-004, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    5. Avraham Ebenstein, 2011. "Estimating a Dynamic Model of Sex Selection in China," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 48(2), pages 783-811, May.
    6. Zhang, Chuanchuan, 2011. "Children, support in old age and social insurance in rural China," MPRA Paper 37798, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Samuel Marden, 2016. "Family Size and the Demand for Sex Selection: Evidence From China," Working Paper Series 9016, Department of Economics, University of Sussex.
    8. Elaine L. Hill & David J. G. Slusky, 2017. "Birth Spacing and Educational Outcomes," Advances in Health Economics and Health Services Research,in: Human Capital and Health Behavior, volume 25, pages 3-29 Emerald Publishing Ltd.
    9. Yao Lu & Ran Tao, 2015. "Female Migration, Cultural Context, and Son Preference in Rural China," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 34(5), pages 665-686, October.
    10. Xingqiang Du, 2016. "Does Confucianism Reduce Board Gender Diversity? Firm-Level Evidence from China," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 136(2), pages 399-436, June.
    11. Jane Golley & Rod Tyers, 2012. "China's Gender Imbalance and its Economic Performance," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 12-10, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.
    12. repec:eee:jeborg:v:145:y:2018:i:c:p:249-260 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Felicia Tian, 2013. "Transition to First Marriage in Reform-Era Urban China: The Persistent Effect of Education in a Period of Rapid Social Change," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 32(4), pages 529-552, August.
    14. Yi Zeng & Linda George & Melanie Sereny & Danan Gu & James W. Vaupel, 2015. "Older parents enjoy better filial piety and care from daughters than sons in China," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2015-012, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.

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